Soup For the Writer's Soul-An Economical Way to Eat Hearty and Save Money
Even writers have to eat, and if you are in the middle of a marathon writing challenge time is of the essence. Soup is a perfect choice to sustain the body, fuel the mind and comfort the soul. In addition to that, soup is relatively inexpensive to make, stretches past the initial day of preparation, and is easy on the budget. Throw the ingredients into a big pot in the morning and let it do its thing. By the time you are ready for your first break the soup will be also. Here is a recipe for a ‘clean eating’ version for French Onion Soup:
French Onion Soup
My mother loved French Onion soup, and I’m not sure if it was because of the flavor of the soup alone, or if it was because of the opportunity to eat bread without guilt! This recipe comes from Tosca Reno’s recipe book: The Clean Eat Diet Cookbook 2
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt
¼ tsp (1.25 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp (1.25 ml) whole black peppercorns
1 tsp (5 ml) Cognac, brandy or dry sherry
1 tsp (5 ml) white wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) sherry vinegar
4 cups (960 ml) low sodium beef broth
Dash of Worcestershire
8 Parmesan croutons (recipe follows)
Cheesecloth for a seasoning sachet
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, salt and pepper and sweat onions until they reduce in volume, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook onions slowly until they are well browned, using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot regularly, approximately 45-55 minutes.
(This is a slow process to caramelize the onions-avoid browning them on high heat).
While onions are browning, cut a 3 x 3 inch square of double layered cheesecloth for sachet. Place garlic, thyme, bay leaf and black peppercorns on cheesecloth, gather corners and tie closed with butcher twine or food safe string. Set aside.
When onions are evenly browned and have reduced down greatly add Cognac, and both vinegars. Scrape bottom of pot to loosen brown crusty bits, and allow liquid to infuse its flavor into onions and cook out the alcohol, about 30 seconds. Add beef broth, a dash of Worcestershire and cheesecloth sachet. Bring soup to a boil, partially cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecloth sachet and discard. Ladle soup into bowls, when ready to eat, and top with Parmesan croutons.
Makes: (4) 1 cup servings of 152 calories each.
Eat-Clean Cooking Spray
Extra virgin olive oil
Place EVOO in a food-grade spray bottle to spritz over pans or food as needed.
8 x ¼ inch thick slices whole grain French bread
Eat-Clean cooking spray (recipe follows)
Pinch sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
8 tsp (40 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 C) Place bread slices on baking sheet. Spray with Cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each with 1 tsp (5 ml) Parmesan. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
4 Servings of (2) croutons each=128 calories.
Love for Ourselves and Our Planet
For those readers not familiar with the terms: ‘Eat-Clean’ or 'Clean-Eating' it refers to a way of life, not a fad diet or a fanatical, hyper vigilance toward processed food. It is a conscientious choice of eating foods in their most natural forms. This would include organically grown foods, but also, the way the food is handled in the preparation of meals, such as choosing chemically free cooking sprays.
We have one body, when we are born, and we don’t really get a second chance to replace its parts when things go awry despite medical miracles like limb replacement and organ transplants. It makes sense that we must care for ourselves by optimizing ways to stay healthy, while helping our planet to heal from poisonous toxins that we have come to incorporate as ‘daily living’.